Thursday, September 30, 2004

Pet Peeve

I think that if I see one more person type "loosing" when they mean "losing", I might chew off one of my own toes.

Here are some helpful links for anyone who might be confused between the two:

Loosing (from loose)

Losing

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Common sense in California??

Is it possible that common sense showed up in Oakland in the form of Jerry Brown? He put an end to the suspension of DUI checkpoints that were discovering too many illegal immigrants driving without a license (See previous story in my "Crazy in California" post).

I don't necessarily know how I feel about DUI checkpoints for other constitutional reasons (since I never get drunk, do they really have the right to stop me? Shouldn't there have to be some sort of probable cause? Plus they are a big hassle, as they can tie traffic up for some time). However, I know for sure that the checkpoints shouldn't be stopped just because they were turning up illegal immigrants driving without a license!

Monday, September 27, 2004

Libraries

As someone who has long complained about the incredibly sorry state of the California library system, this table will illustrate my point. The state I mostly grew up in, Ohio, had its library system rated #1 for both of the past two years. California came in at 43 and 41. Ouch!

Several people have told me that this is due to Prop 13 limiting homeowner taxes, so there is no money for libraries. This would make sense in older communities where residents lived in their homes for a long time. However, in the county I live in, houses are springing up left and right, and I would say the majority of the homes in the county probably didn't exist 10 years ago. Thus, taxes should be sufficient for libraries, right? Especially since the values of the houses in this area have quadrupled in the past 5 years and the county should be rolling in money. SO WHY ARE OUR LIBRARIES TERRIBLE?

Football update

I will win both of my fantasy football games this week barring a major setback, since I am ahead in both and have Clinton Portis going for both teams.

This will put me at 1-2 in my free league and 2-1 in my pay league.

We also started a survival pool at work, wherein you pick a winner of one game each week. If they lose, you're out. You can only pick a team to win one time. Most of our league ended up picking Atlanta over the hapless Cardinals, me included. Thankfully the Falcons came through with a giant 6-3 win. So we have three people eliminated (one guy picked the Niners over the Seahawks as his lock?!) and nine people still in.

Crazy in California

Could someone explain to me the thinking behind this?

Sunday, September 26, 2004

New cell

Got a new cell phone today. I also switched from Sprint to AT&T wireless, but thanks to number portability, my number is still the same. The 6820 looks pretty cool so far, although I had some problems with the power button at first, which magically cleared up once I took it into the store and waited in line for an hour. This left me phoneless for a while today, since we don't have a home line, my Sprint phone had already stopped working, and I couldn't use the new AT&T one. But everything worked out pretty quickly. I'm still going through the hassle of porting over all the numbers from my old phone.

Friday, September 24, 2004

George Bush

The google ads on the side of my blog keep putting up pro-kerry ads all the time. Since these key off of what I talk about in the blog, I thought maybe I was mentioning JK too often, even though negatively. Or else, "Kerry" is easier to scan through and return ad hits for than Bush, since the word "Bush" has alternate uses. Hence I will now attempt to only reference George W. Bush in my blog, in hopes of skewing to more pro-George W. Bush ads. If that doesn't affect things, I guess I will be forced to assume that the JK campaign is just advertising on the internet or through Google more than the George W. Bush campaign?

George W. Bush

Dan Blather

What is there to say that hasn't already been better said here? The whole situation is just unbelievable. "I know this story is true..." because a fairy told me in my dreams! What in the world?

Grumpy old man

I can't wait until I'm old enough to be a professional grumpy old man.

In the meantime ...

I just heard two instances of the word "freshmens" employed on ESPN Sportcenter in 3 minutes tonight. RIDICULOUS. Why do we even bother having school at all?

And from Forbes.com(!), this lovely snippet:

Quentin Lawson, NABSE's executive director, exercised his First Amendment rights not to answer the committee's questions on the grounds that he might incriminate himself or interfere with an "ongoing investigation."

Ummm....which amendment gives you the right not to incriminate yourself? I'm pretty sure it's the Fifth and not the First. Please retake a high school government class.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Midwestern moment

I've got the need, the need for EUCHRE!

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Freedom Fries

Why was it I wasn't liking Jacques Chirac? Well, here's another good reason. With one swoop Chirac has managed to hit two of the issues that could get me most fired up - taxation and firearms. Obviously the answer to global poverty is a global tax, because the natural result of more bureaucracy and more taxation is less poverty. HMMM.

I recall a famous quote from former Chief Justice John Marshall, "The power to tax is the power to destroy." Mix that in with more restrictions on firearms, and this is heading to a global government casserole that I don't want to eat.

Memo to John Kerry: I don't want the UN to run ANYTHING.

Name one thing the UN does well (i.e., without "losing track of" a billion dollars - more on the UN here).
Name one thing John Kerry stands for.


I'll still be waiting next week.


Sunday, September 19, 2004

Line on Bush/Kerry

Check out this blog. He collects the gambling lines from various places on the presidential race and presents the results with pretty charts and graphs. I love charts and graphs! Anyway, looks like gamblers are definitely putting the money on Bush at this point, as they should. Barring something strange happening at the debates, I don't see how Bush can lose. I actually think Bush will pull even further ahead after the debates, as mentioned in previous posts. Kerry has no solid message to present at the debates. Even if he comes up with one, it will be easily parried with the charge "well, that's how he feels today", because he has no credibility at holding to a position.

The gambling money presented on this site certainly lends credence to the Gallup Poll from USA Today this week that showed Bush expanding his lead to 14 points, versus the poll from somebody else that showed Kerry almost even with Bush (discussed here). Ridiculous. Figures lie and liars figure, but I think gambling money probably shows which is correct. After all, the pollsters can have political agendas which affect how they ask questions and interpret results (not to mention selecting appropriate "likely voters" and sample size, etc.), whereas gamblers only care about what will make them money.

Schwarzenegger to the rescue!

Back to the California political scene: Schwarzenegger stems the tide of idiocy once again. He vetoed a measure to increase California's minimum wage to $7.75/hour.

From the SacBee link:
In his veto message, the governor said the wage boost could yield unintended consequences, driving away jobs as state government struggles for revenue.
"Now is not the time to create barriers to our economic recovery or reverse the momentum we have generated," Schwarzenegger wrote.

EXACTLY! When will these people realize that California needs to make itself MORE attractive to businesses to get out of the economic doldrums, not LESS attractive. If we're going to mandate anything, how about requiring that our state legislators take a basic economics class (not available in San Francisco)?

:'(

I miss NFL Sunday ticket!

active

You may be wondering why I have so much time to blog tonight. It's because I'm watching "When Harry Met Sally" with my wife and some friends. Which actually isn't too bad for a chick flick. Nonetheless, I have already seen it, so it's nice to have the wireless connection and my laptop.

True Fan

When I tell people I'm a Niners fan, I often get disdainful looks and comments to how terrible they are this year. It's almost as if I shouldn't like them b/c they are bad. umm...the definition of a true fan is that you root for your team even when they are awful. The worst type of fan is the one who only roots for a team because they are good and abandons them when they get bad.

My predictions for the local teams this year, so we can see at the end of the season if I am even close to correct.
49ers: 5-11
Raiders: 6-10

Can't remember if I ever updated that I did indeed win one of my fantasy football games last week. Even though I scored very few points in both leagues, I did pull that one out. Here's hoping for a better day tomorrow.

Country "Music"

Why do all my friends love country "music"? IT IS TERRIBLE! They all seem to think that just because I'm patriotic and conservative, that I should like country. Why? As I have semi-famously said before, you can write God Bless America on a piece of poop, and I still won't want to eat it.

Even one of my coworkers, who heretofore has evinced interest mostly in techno and esoteric indie music, has now gotten into this Big and Rich country band. A sad day!

I simply cannot understand the attraction.

Saturday, September 18, 2004

Good luck

I went to an Oakland A's game on a team outing from work yesterday. It got a little boring, as baseball games can often drag on, but we ended up having a good time by just shouting loudly and almost randomly. We got free A's hats, so that helped get us all in a cheery mood as well.

It was actually a very close game; the A's won by one. The Rangers jumped out to a quick lead and the A's were playing sloppy, and the A's fans among us were a little depressed. I quickly reassured them that they had nothing to worry about - every time I attend a professional game, the home team ALWAYS wins. In fact, I don't believe I have ever seen (in person) a major league home team lose. This is even given that I may be rooting against the home team, yet they still always win. This applies to 2 Kings NBA games, 2 Niners NFL games, 1 A's game, and numerous Reds MLB games growing up. I used to get free tix to 2 Reds games a year based on my grades, and sometimes went with friends as well. And I HATED the Reds. Yet they ALWAYS won. I believe at least one of my old-school buds from that time reads the blog, so he can correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe I may have powerful magic! In fact, the only professional event where this ever did not apply was at one minor league baseball game here in Sac. Otherwise, it has held true even in the minors as well.

Anyway, my theory is that home teams should be offering me free tickets and trips to come to their key games to ensure a win. And visiting teams should be trying to outbid them to keep me away!




Wednesday, September 15, 2004

One more thing

I don't care what a fan says, a player should NEVER chuck a chair into the stands! This is so ridiculous I have no further comment.

Food Post - I love cereal!

And Wal-Mart has won my heart in the cereal game. It has all the cereals I love for $2.50. TWO DOLLARS AND FIFTY CENTS! SERIOUSLY! THAT IS CRAZY! Even Cracklin' Oat Bran, which I love but have not eaten for years due to the prohibitive price. And Post Selects Banana Nut Crunch!! And Honey Bunches of Oats!! I am in Cereal Heaven. Whatever faults Wal-Mart may have I forgive them now!

Note: If Wal-Mart in your area has had this cereal deal for some time, then fantastic. However, it's new out here in California. Jerry Seinfeld and I are loving it! I am eating cereal for breakfast, dinner, and dessert. I would have it for lunch too, but I'm too lazy to transport all the stuff I would need to work. And where/how would I get milk?

I'm thinking of a poll, so I might try to set that up. I'm curious to see what type of milk people drink the most - skim, 1%, 2%, or whole?

While I have food on the mind, my coworkers and I tried a new pasta place the other day, Pasta Pomodoro. It's so new the location we went to doesn't appear to be on their website yet. Anyway, it was very tasty and fairly reasonably priced and had a contemporary yet classy atmosphere. It completely destroyed Pasghetti's, the other new Italian chain in town (looked, but I couldn't find a website. I'm probably spelling it wrong, but it's after midnight, so I don't really care).

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

How much is too much?

I've seen a lot of news stories on extremely obese people recently (e.g. here). Speaking as someone who has been bigger my whole life, flirted with 300 pounds just three yrs ago, and now weighs in at 265, I still just can't understand this extreme level of obesity. What I'm really struggling with is, who keeps feeding these people after they get too fat to get out of bed? If you can't get out of bed to feed yourself (due to obesity, obviously these statements don't apply to medical conditions), might one consider that as a sign to stop eating so much? I have asked my wife, if I ever start to get hugely obese, to never bring food to me! Make sure I have to get up to get it!

The really annoying thing about this article is the whole cry for the government to do more about this! THE GOVERNMENT SHOULD NOT HAVE TO TELL YOU TO STOP STUFFING YOUR FACE! Where is the personal responsibility?

Monday, September 13, 2004

Any news?

Seemed like a boring news day ... did I miss something? The story that seems to be getting coverage everywhere is Oprah giving away cars. Maybe I'm just having a hard time coming down from the high of the first day of football season yesterday! Things aren't looking too good for my fantasy teams. I got completely drubbed in one league and maybe will win in the other. A lot depends on tonight's game in that one.

I did have a good time showing off the new car at work today. Everyone seemed to like it. We all rode to lunch in it. Quite roomy. My freakishly tall, 6 foot 5 inch coworker could sit comfortably in the backseat!

Ok, off to watch Monday Night Football while I work out at the gym!

Brave New World

Thought provoking essay, link courtesy of my sister, on the state of American education.

Pic of Highlander

Click here to see what our new car looks like. Make sure "Bluestone Metallic" is the color being displayed. I can't take a pic of our actual car and put it on here until I get a replacement cord for our digital camera.

Saturday, September 11, 2004

It's official

We are now the proud owners of a new 2004 blue-gray Toyota Highlander!

Friday, September 10, 2004

Bush national guard

Due to the car scenario, I haven't been able to stay on top of political news like I normally would and thus cannot offer my normal insightful commentary on the Bush national guard situation. However, I did find this interesting item on the Evil Conservative blog.

Without even having delved into the whole situation, I do have one thing to say. Those idiotic commentators who are comparing this news to the Swift Boat Vet situation for Kerry are complete fools. BUSH IS NOT BASING HIS CAMPAIGN ON HIS PERFORMANCE IN THE NATIONAL GUARD THIRTY YEARS AGO! Whereas Kerry quite clearly has tried to base a large part of his campaign on his 4 months in Vietnam, which is ludicrous. Honestly, I'm pretty much at the point where I don't care that much what either one of them did in 1975 or whatever. Kerry has to try to go back that far because he hasn't accomplished a single thing since then.

Car update

Ok, we did some test driving last night.

I. The Prius is out.
1) No power
2) Looks stupid
3) Feels fragile
4) Hearing bad news on having to replace electronics and battery and the cost of doing so
5) My wife hated it.

II. The Murano is out
1) Higher cost
2) Having a hard time finding any used ones

III. Xterra out for the previously mentioned reason

IV. Camry is still hanging on as maybe being in consideration
1) Just can't get excited about it
2) Older models I don't fit in
3) Does have pretty good gas mileage

V. New entrant: Nissan Maxima
1) Pretty reasonable price (on a 2002)
2) Fun to drive
3) Very roomy
4) Looks pretty cool
5) Smooth ride
6) Negative - not very good gas mileage (20,26)
7) Still need to do consumer reports research

VI. Toyota Highlander
1) Decent power if you get a V6 (still nothing like the Maxima)
2) Virtually same gas mileage as maxima (19,26 I think)
3) Have to get a 2004 to get the newer, more powerful engine (same g.m.), so cost is higher
4) Can haul stuff around from home depot, etc. in it.
5) Has third row of seats if necessary


So, it's really coming down to the Maxima vs. the Highlander right now. I'm heavily leaning towards the maxima, b/c I just enjoyed driving that more, and based on cost considerations. Also, I don't yet see a real need for anything bigger right now, such as the Highlander. Feel free to weigh in with your thoughts in the comments.


Thursday, September 09, 2004

FIRE! FIRE!

Well, we had one of the most exciting nights of our married life so far on Tuesday night. My wife's car had been in the shop, so she had taken my car to work. When she got home, I could hear sort of a weird noise coming from the garage. Then she threw open the door and ran in shouting "I can't get the car to turn off!!" I hustle out to the garage, and sure enough, she has the keys in her hand, but the starter is just hammering the engine over and over and over again. I try to stop it, by turning the key on and off again, to no effect, except that when I put the key to on, the engine starts up too, but the starter continues going. If I turn it off, the engine shuts off, but the starter keeps going and going. I throw the hood up while calling my friend who knows a lot about cars and is likely to be up at 11:30 PM. Even with the engine off, it is shaking from the starter just beating on it. On the phone, we agree that it is better to leave the engine running while this is happening, and that I need to disconnect the battery so the starter doesn't have power anymore. Then we should be able to get everything to shut off. So I grab some tools to try to get the battery cables disconnected, but am having no quick success when I start to notice smoke coming out of the engine. I quickly ascertain that priority one is not to have a fire start in our garage, so I get the car out in the driveway. At this point thick black smoke is pouring out of the hood, while my wife calls the fire department. Eventually the fire or heat burns through some wires, including the battery cable, and everything shuts off. Then the fire truck shows up. Thankfully we thought to request silent approach, so the whole neighborhood didn't wake up and appear in our front yard. Nonetheless, they put up a floodlight that makes things bright as day pointed right at our house. At this point the car has pretty much stopped smoking, so I am feeling a little foolish that they are there, but the firemen are pretty cool about it. They check out the melted cables and such, and then go ahead and disconnect the battery and take off. Two days later, our garage still smells like nasty smoke. So, at this point, we have pretty much decided to get a new car. Because the Corolla would probably (at least) need a new starter, some cables and wires, a new ignition switch, and a new battery. Also, it already needed some suspension work and new brakes, rotors, and calipers. All that basically equals the value of the car. We had been entertaining looking at new cars anyway, but now it is much accelerated. It has already been a hassle to just have one car these past two days.

Current cars under consideration, certainly preferring used

Good gas mileage cars:
Toyota Prius (these seem VERY hard to come by here, rumor has it there's a 9 month waiting list for a new one)
Toyota Camry

Roomier SUVs:
Toyota Highlander
Nissan Murano
Nissan Xterra - may be out, since most reviews say this is really built for offroading, and you shouldn't buy it if you just plan to go around town.

Current plan is to visit some dealers and do some test driving over the next couple of days and the weekend and hopefully have a car by next week.

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

TRAFFIC JAM

Check out the 2004 Urban Mobility Study. Looks like the data for the 2004 study is from 2002. Sacramento rated 30th worst traffic in the country, with each resident losing an average of 36 hours per year to being stuck in traffic. Since I rarely get stuck in traffic (due to living only 3 or 4 miles from work), I figure my wife must be spending about 70 hours a year stuck in traffic just to even things out.

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Old News II

From the Wall Street Journal.

No surprise to the readers of this blog.

TIME magazine poll shows Bush up by 11%. The only question is how well the lead will hold up.

From recent reports, it sounds like the Kerry team is in disarray. I doubt the new team has enough time to figure out a new message that can resonate with the American people. Especially because changing message again only further contributes to Kerry's image problems as a flip-flopper and not a leader. From MSNBC, "After voting for the war, but against funding it, after saying he would have voted for the war even knowing everything we know today, my opponent woke up this morning with new campaign advisers and yet another new position,” Bush said in prepared remarks.

And there it is.

ARE YOU READY FOR SOME FOOTBALL????

FOOTBALL IS BACK!!! This means that my favorite hobby is back as well - fantasy football. I will once again be playing in two leagues this year, but I won't be running either of them myself. We are on hiatus with the league I've run at work the past three years. I just didn't have the time for it, and frankly had no desire to deal with all the whining again either. So, I will be playing in a free league on yahoo, and a prize money league on nfl.com/sportsline.com. I'll be using espn.com for a lot of fantasy info, but I don't play in leagues on there, because it costs $30 for a team BEFORE you set up for prize money.

Thursday night! God Bless America!

Sunday, September 05, 2004

Low Blogging weekend

We went to a wedding of two of our friends yesterday, and we have several out of town guests staying with us for the wedding, so this is a low blogging weekend.

They had lasagna at the wedding reception. Delicious! I highly recommend it.

I read the Scripture at the wedding ... very SLOWLY, which is a struggle for me.

Ok, off to church. I hope to make a few format changes to the blog tomorrow, but that will have to come behind working on the house and working out.

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Marriage = Baskets

That's what I've learned in 4 and a half months of marriage. Big baskets, small baskets, dark baskets, light baskets, wicker baskets, baskets that have a function, baskets that don't.

Some of the baskets end up making things better, like the baskets now employed on the sink in our master bath. I put all my stuff that I use everyday in there instead of just throwing it all over the place, and everything looks much nicer than before.

We also have a nice big basket in our living room next to our fireplace, ostensibly to hold wood. However, it's Sacramento and 100 degrees, so there hasn't been a lot of use for the fireplace yet, so the basket (which I actually do really like the look of) has instead been used as a place for my wife to hide things when she is in a cleaning frenzy. In particular, my flip-flops. This last time my flip-flops went missing, I quickly remembered the favorite hiding place, and sure enough they were in there. I guess she's trained me!

There you go - a post for anyone who was getting tired of mostly political commentary. Although out of the three people who regularly view this blog (I know who you are!), two have asked for more political stuff. I have to keep the constituents happy!

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

BUSH WINS!

You heard it here first. This is not from watching the cheerleading of the convention, but rather from watching a surprisingly insightful interview with Dick Morris (whom I generally consider to be a complete snake) on the O'Reilly Factor. I couldn't find a transcript of the interview on FoxNews.com, so I'm having to go with these poll numbers from memory (and also this assumes the poll numbers were accurate in the first place), but they certainly make sense to me. Dick was discussing how Republicans are basically united on certain key questions, and that unity dovetails with Bush's positions. Democrats, on the other hand, are all over the map. He said Repubs were basically 80% for, 10% against us staying in Iraq. Dems were 35%/45%. Similar numbers existed for the question of whether we are winning the war in Iraq. There was another question as well that I've forgotten. Anyway, this makes a lot of sense to me. The left wing of the Democratic party is where all the energy is - anti-war, pro-socialism, etc. However, this is scary to normal people (apparently there are a few left in the Dem party), so the Democrats can't embrace those positions. Hence their convention almost sounded Republican, as they have to try to please everybody. No wonder Kerry waffles! Anyway, I think this spells doom for Kerry. How will he hold up in a debate, when just about any question he answers will offend at least a third of his base? I actually believe we may have turned the corner on a mauling here. Remember that Dukakis was ahead of the first Bush for a while as well, before being soundly beaten. Of course, we could all look back at this in a month and laugh (or cry).